Friday, 12 September 2008

Everyone's a swimmer baby

Fulwood Leisure Centre is astonishingly busy.
At sixish on weekday evenings the swimming pool resembles a scene from a Where's Wally book.
Preston City Council should run seminars on increasing sports participation. Or maybe they should build more swimming pools.
In the early evening at Fulwood it is impossible to swim a length without a collision or a near miss.
Crowds of people gather in the shallow end – like participants in a union meeting for centre users.
More hang off the wall at the deep end –watching their friends dive and jump into the melee.
Swimmers of all ages, sexes, shapes, speeds, and races pick their way from end to end.
Bandits appear from below and all sides. Occasionally they swim over the top of you.
And – in the middle of it all – a suicidal lunatic starts to swim backstroke.
But, surprisingly, none of this is off-putting.
Most punters do their best to avoid each other with good grace.
And it’s possible to adapt to the conditions.
Don’t pick a line on the floor of the pool and swim up and down it. There’s no chance.
Stay alert. Drift around the obstacles, and straighten up when you can – like a rugby union three quarter.
This workout builds endurance – but also flexibility, as swimmers slalom down the pool, darting through gaps, adapting strokes and inventing new ones.
It’s swimming as a martial art. Unarmed combat in an atmosphere of respect.
An adult swim costs £2.50, lockers take a refundable pound coin, changing is in a unisex area with individual cabins. The leisure centre has a gym, a sports hall, and a licensed bar that serves food.


Joe said...

> It's swimming as a martial art.

Hehe. Good analogy. I don't have the patience for public lap swims anymore.

Jenny Davidson said...

Very funny description! I like it - sounds like a triathlon swim...